How to Be a Great Manager

Julie Shenkman
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Working for a great company is one thing, but working for a great manager is a whole other story. Think about it, your manager is key when it comes to your day-to-day experience at work and if you have a great manager that makes all the difference. So, if you’re the boss, be a good one!

And if you need a little help to get there…here are nine tips that managers need to create a great work environment.


1.            Your mindset should change when you become a manager

It’s likely that you became a manager by doing great work in your previous role, but now that your role has changed, so should your mindset. Keep in mind that it will take some time and adjusting to become the manager you want to be and that’s okay, but as a manager you’ll do less contributing as an individual player and more delegating and coaching.

2.            Tailor your management style

It’s likely that what makes you tick is different from the individuals on your team. As a manager you need to be able to pivot and change your working style to adapt to your employees’. Know that different doesn’t mean bad and what works for one person might not for another. It’s your job to recognize and use those differences to make your team successful.

3.            Structure and guidance are instilled in us.

People seek out structure. From the time we’re kids we look to grownups and older siblings for guidance and when you enter the working world you look to your manager. A manager should be the person that provides guidance, feedback, and structure for their team.

4.            If you want something done right, let your team do it

Like we said earlier you need to change your mindset when you become a manager or else… you’ll become a micromanager. And typically, micromanagers become bottlenecks with a team that produces little, misses deadlines, and learns little from their leader. Micromanagers tend to have issues relinquishing control allowing their team to grow, explore, and gain confidence to succeed. So, trust that your team can get the job done and let them do it.

5.            Empower your employees to lead

Even if you don’t always agree with your direct report, let them lead in their area of expertise. In order to have a productive team, the members need to feel empowered and confident that they can get the job done. Even if you’d do something differently, you need to allow your team members the room to try and see what happens. Even if they fail, that’s an opportunity to learn.

6.            Meet with each team member individually and often

Weekly one-on-one meetings with your direct reports are a must. As a manager you should be able to allocate 30 minutes of your time each week to each of your direct reports to know what they’re working on and if they help, what you need from them, and to let them know that they’re doing a good job. Sometimes there will be a lot to talk about in these meetings, at other times, not as much and that’s okay, but don’t cancel them! Even if there’s not a lot to talk about because you met four times this week already, it’s an opportunity to build a relationship with your team members. And having this relationship will help build trust between you (the manager) and your employees.

7.            Share clear feedback

When a member of your team is doing something that needs to stop or change, your feedback should be clear. Tell them the problematic behavior, why it’s an issue, and what the expectation should be for the future. And when they make that change, let them know that you noticed.

8.            Accentuate the positive

Positive feedback is more motivating than negative and if you want your team to get the job done, you should be positive. Often, people only hear about what they’re doing that’s wrong, so don’t be that kind of manager. Be positive, praise your direct reports to keep your team on the right track.

9.            The sweet smell of success

As a manager you’ll be judged based on your team’s success. You should be setting your team up to achieve their goals, because their success (or failure) reflects directly on you. 

Whether you’re a new manager or one that’s been leading teams for some time, this is a good reminder of what a great manager does.

Photo Courtesy of Ram V. Charey at




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  • Linda K.
    Linda K.

    Great suggestions thank you!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Joshua m. - thanks for your great comment. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • joshua m.
    joshua m.

    It is my belief that in order to be a good manager, he or she has to be sincere, with others, always giving credit where credit is due, and explaining to the ones that did not achieve their purpose how they can achieve it. Ask everyone to share their opinions. Remember two heads are better than one.

  • Teresa L.
    Teresa L.

    This was very informative i am getting back into the job market. In the past i have upset employees and didnt understand why. It was eye opening to learn how i was commimg across to people. I had no idea how my tone came across. I recently failed to get a promotion because i was told i was too bosy. We are never too old to learn and grow.

  • Beverly Thomas
    Beverly Thomas

    This is so true. A good manager can be the key to your job. In one of the departments I use to work at I saw this department had a great manager and they worked hard for that manager and she encourage them to do their best and she did not fault them if things did not work. She showed them how to succeed in their job and how to be better. You don't see that these days

  • Rodney Cremer
    Rodney Cremer

    Honesty and to the point..

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